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ECELAW is pleased to release a guide to the legal aspects of wetland conservation in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The guide includes information about Nova Scotia's Environment Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation, Nova Scotia's Wetland Conservation Policy, and HRM land-use by-laws and policies that impact wetland conservation. The guide walks readers through the steps required to determine whether a development on or near a wetland is lawful.

Halifax – November 12, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW), Atlantic Canada’s only environmental law charity, has released a report analyzing the new regulatory framework for aquaculture in Nova Scotia. New Regulations released on October 26, 2015, are an improvement from the previous regulatory framework but fail to live up to the Provincial Government’s commitment to implement the recommendations of an independent review panel.

The Doelle-Lahey Panel, commissioned by the Provincial Government, consulted a wide range of stakeholders including the aquaculture industry and coastal communities. In its final Report the Panel recommended a fundamental overhaul of aquaculture regulation in Nova Scotia, in order to address serious concerns regarding openness, transparency, Ministerial discretion, and a lack of social licence for industry to operate in this province. The Doelle-Lahey Report did not recommend a moratorium on open-net finfish aquaculture, but the many groups pursuing that goal agreed to put aside their continued calls for such a moratorium if the Panel recommendations were fully implemented.

The Provincial Government has implemented some of the Doelle-Lahey recommendations, including the introduction of an independent review board, public hearings for certain licence applications, third party auditing, and management plans. That said, some recommendations that go to the core concerns of openness, transparency and reducing discretion have not been implemented, including provisions concerning the proactive release of information to the public, the designation of certain at-risk areas as unsuitable for aquaculture development, and the ability for the public to request the revocation of a licence from repeat-offenders.

ECELAW urges the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to take the steps necessary to fully implement the recommendations of the Doelle-Lahey Panel. A failure to take all recommendations seriously threatens the ability for finfish aquaculture to operate with social licence from the people of Nova Scotia, and may result in an atmosphere where public calls for a permanent moratorium are stronger than ever.

Read ECELAW’s analysis of the new regulatory framework by downloading the attachment, below.


Media Contact:                

Aaron Ward, Executive Director, ECELAW

[email protected] | (902) 495-9111 | twitter: @ecelaw

Ever wondered how and to what extent Nova Scotia's Environment Act is enforced?  Or what information is publicly available to assess environmental law enforcement in Nova Scotia? 

Check out ECELAW's new report "Failure to Enforce: Time for transparent and effective environmental enforcement".  If you have an environmental enforcement story to share, get in touch and tell us.


Halifax – December 22, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In the wake of a landmark global climate deal reached in Paris, East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) has released a report calling into question the carbon impact of widespread biomass energy use. ECELAW, Atlantic Canada’s only environmental law charity, is calling on provincial governments in the Maritimes to change their renewable energy policies to bring them in line with the current scientific understanding of the impacts of biomass energy.

“It may not be as simple as ‘burn a tree, grow a tree’”, says ECELAW’s Executive Director, Aaron Ward. “Most government policies on biomass energy have not yet accounted for several important indicators of the impact on forests, including changes to forest structure and productivity, impacts of multiple harvests, and time-lags in carbon reabsorption. Recent scientific developments suggest that unless certain regulatory safeguards are in place, burning forest biomass for electricity can result in increased CO2 levels for over a century.”

Biomass harvesting for electricity generation is taking place in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with little regulatory oversight; whole-tree harvesting and near-complete removal of living and dead material from sites has occurred.  The Maritime Provinces’ renewable energy policies do not reflect the current understanding of the carbon emission impacts of forest biomass energy. 

“We are calling on Maritime governments to introduce minimum efficiency requirements for biomass energy and restricting or prohibiting whole-tree harvesting in all forestry operations,” says Ward. “Further, we recommend that the Maritimes introduce province-wide policies for forest carbon modelling and full life-cycle analysis of biomass energy systems.”

Read ECELAW’s report by downloading the attachment, below


Media Contact:                

Aaron Ward, Executive Director, ECELAW

[email protected] | (902) 495-9111 | twitter: @ecelaw


The East Coast Environmental Law Association (ECELAW) is a public interest environmental law charity based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We are the only such organization in Atlantic Canada. Our mission is to facilitate innovative and effective environmental laws and the fair application of those laws. We do that by raising awareness, supporting education and collaborating on legal initiatives that focus on providing Atlantic Canadians with a clean, healthy environment.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the federal government to engage with Canadians on a truly reformed environmental impact assessment process. We have waited many years for this, and we appreciate the opportunity to present to you today to contribute to a future legal framework for EIA that addresses the many lessons we have all learned.

Download the full presentation, below

A personal account of living near an industrial salmon aquaculture operation.

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